For those of you who know me, you know how close my sister Hila and I are. When it comes to our free time that's not occupied with work, we’re pretty much doing something together. Whether it's going out for a meal to try out the newest mom and pop shop, a quick hike up the nearest canyon, or simply going over our next “big” idea for a film that came to one of us the night before in our sleep; one could say we’re basically attached at the hip.
However, in the past few years there's been a decline in our hangouts due to other commitments, which is totally understandable--we’re growing up, we have different social circles, we have different priorities. But one thing that always left me perplexed was when I would see Hila working on Zam Zam related work at two in the morning or missing out on a movie night (ok, that one really hurt) because she had a meeting scheduled with the Zam Zam Creative team and needed to dedicate her time to the organization instead of me.
At times, I legit thought she was the only crazy one (apart from Yusuf) dedicating her free time to this cause. It’s just another charity. There are a million of others out there. No charity has ever saved any country. And this is where it gets bad; Just another organization with big egos who are trying to place their mark on the world for the sake of making themselves feel better when we all know these third world countries don’t need non-profits, they need a structure in the country itself; complete waste of money and time.
After all, it's just another charity organization.
Oh bacheem, was I wrong.
Due to our steady decline in sister bonding time, Hila had been after me to fly up to the Bay Area so I could attend the 2018 Zam Zam Gala with her this year. “Come on man, it’s just one night, for a few hours. We could totally hang out the other nights and be tourists around San Francisco!”...she got me there. All those years of visiting the Bay as a child, but only driving through Fremont where we made the obligatory pilgrimage to Maiwand Market, stacking up on enough bread to feed all of Orange County and then visiting random Khala Jaans and Kaka Jaans in the outskirts of the Bay had left an unimaginable void in my heart. This sounded like the perfect opportunity to fix that. Ok, lets do it.
Before I knew it, we were landing in San Francisco on the Friday night before the Gala. Hila, will your friends like me? What if they think i'm weird? Why did I agree to come. Jesus, my social anxiety is on another level right now. Should've stayed back. Yep. Wait, Who Cares? Only going to see them for a bit. We’ll be spending most of our time out and about. We all know how that ended. Nothing touristy. In fact, Hila lied, ditched me and spent all weekend--up till the Gala--dedicated to editing Zam Zam’s newest highlight video, again. *Que Michelle from Full House: HOW RUDE*
But actually, no; not rude at all.
While she was away from me prepping for the event or mingling amongst the guest at the Gala, I finally began to slowly understand her. This madness was all starting to make sense. Hila wasn’t the only crazy one. In fact, every single volunteer was just as crazy as her; they all had embedded their souls deep into the cause and were essential pieces that shaped the Zam Zam puzzle together.
And to every single volunteer at Zam Zam, whether we managed to find the time and have a deep conversation amongst those few nights we were there, or seeing how you interacted with one another from afar, I saw how dedicated you were and it left me in awe. Thanks to your all nighters, skipping out on your free time and dedicating your absolute all to Zam Zam, The Imam Bukhari Orphan Center will have their doors open for another year. Another year to serve 300 beautiful souls. Another year to hear 300 prayers. Another year for 300 more stories.